On this page:
- What Are Cigarettes?
- Are You Looking for General Health and Safety Information About Cigarettes?
- Are You a Manufacturer of Cigarettes?
- Are You a Retailer of Cigarettes?
What Are Cigarettes?
Cigarettes are still the most commonly used tobacco product in the United States. They are also responsible for the vast majority of all tobacco-related disease and death in the U.S.
The basic components of most cigarettes are tobacco, chemical additives, a filter, and paper wrapping. The user burns the tobacco and inhales the smoke. Smokers are exposed to a toxic mix of over 7,000 chemicals, including more than 70 that can cause cancer, when they inhale cigarette smoke.
Are You Looking for General Health and Safety Information Related to Cigarettes?
To protect Americans from tobacco-related disease and death, FDA provides information about tobacco products, including cigarettes, and the dangers they pose to the public.
Chemicals in Cigarettes and Cigarette Tobacco
- The harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage nearly every organ in the body.
- Nonsmokers are exposed to many of these same chemicals through secondhand smoke.
Tobacco and tobacco smoke contain thousands of chemicals. This mix of chemicals—not nicotine—is what causes serious disease and death in tobacco users.
Roll-your-own tobacco products are not safer than other types of cigarettes. Just like with other types of cigarettes, the user inhales harmful chemicals when they inhale the smoke.
Different tobacco products pose varying levels of health risk to users. Combusted products that burn tobacco, like a cigarette, are the most harmful to a user’s health, although no tobacco product is considered safe.
Quitting smoking is often difficult, and may take multiple attempts, but the longer a smoker is able to stay quit, the more the body gets to heal from the damage done by smoking.
Nearly 3 out of 4 adult smokers say they would like to quit. Find resources to help you quit.
While cigarette use among youth has declined over the years, use of any tobacco product is a big concern to the FDA.
FDA’s award-winning public education campaign, “The Real Cost,” continues to prevent youth from tobacco initiation and use.
Resources in the FDA Tobacco Education Resource Library
Learn more about print materials, web content, and social media posts available for free that help keep communities informed about tobacco-related issues.
See Cigarette and Smoking Resources
Report a Tobacco Product Problem or Violation
If you have experienced an unexpected health or safety issue with a specific tobacco product, you can report your adverse experience to FDA. Knowledge about adverse experiences can help FDA identify health or safety issues beyond those normally associated with product use.
If you believe these products are being sold to minors, or you see another potential violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) or FDA’s tobacco regulations, report the potential violation.
Are You a Manufacturer of Cigarettes?
FDA regulates the manufacture, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of cigarettes, including components, parts, and accessories, under the FD&C Act and its implementing regulations.
If you make, modify, mix, manufacture, fabricate, assemble, process, label, repack, relabel, or import cigarettes, you must comply with these requirements for manufacturers.
CTP’s Office of Small Business Assistance can answer specific questions about requirements of small businesses and how to comply with the law. This office also provides online educational resources to help regulated industry understand FDA regulations and policies.
Note: Tobacco products that meet the statutory or regulatory definition of a cigarette but are not combusted (do not exceed 350 °C) are categorized as “heated tobacco products” (HTPs) for purposes of FDA's premarket review. HTPs that meet the definition of a cigarette must be in compliance with the applicable statutory and regulatory requirements for cigarettes, unless otherwise noted in a marketing authorization order. Some tobacco products may meet the definition of a cigarette and, for the purposes of premarket review, the definition of a heated tobacco product.
Are You a Retailer of Cigarettes?
Tools for Retailers
“This is Our Watch” is an education program with resources to help tobacco retailers better understand and comply with FDA tobacco regulations. Tobacco retailers play a direct role in protecting kids from nicotine addiction and the deadly effects of tobacco use.
Learn what tobacco retailers need to do to comply with the rules designed to prevent our nation's youth from becoming the next generation of Americans to die prematurely from tobacco-related disease.
Did You Know?It is illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21.
Retail Sales of Tobacco Products offers more information about federal rules that retailers must follow as well as information on regulations, guidance, and tools to help retailers comply.